There’s a new beacon of light in downtown Des Moines coming from a new work of art in the Pappajohn Sculpture Park called “panoramic awareness pavilion” by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson. It’s a circle of 23 multicolored 9-foot tall reflective glass panels with a bright light in the center. The Des Moines Art Center has wanted an Eliasson original since the park opened in 2009. Art Center Jeff Fleming says when they asked Eliasson to create a custom work for this space, the artist immediately said yes.
“And I think the… I know the reason is the quality of the park and the way the park has transformed the community in a very positive way it’s changed the character of the community, so it has significance for Des Moines in a variety of ways and I think that’s important for an artist to be a part of something that can change a community that can change a world.”
Fleming says the artist compares the park’s rolling grass hills to waves in an ocean and the light acts as a beacon to guide viewers as they go through the garden at night. Eliasson worked on the piece for 2 years in his Berlin studio, and last month his assistants traveled to Des Moines to install the heavy slabs of glass. While the physical structure of the work is in place, it won’t be complete until the spring when the landscape around it can be finished. That’s when Eliasson will travel to see his sculpture for the first time in its permanent home at the sculpture garden.
Editor's note - The name of the sculpture has been updated from "Glass Colour Circle" to it's correct name "panoramic awareness pavilion".